Industry associations are questioning the Ontario government’s decision to suspend the second wave of the Large Renewable Procurement, saying it’s a mistake.
Environmental Defence said in a statement this is the wrong time to put the brakes on renewable energy in the province, especially since “prices for nuclear and natural gas are rising” when those for wind and solar are on the decline.
Describing the move as shortsighted, Keith Brooks, program director at Environment Defence said, “The Independent Electricity System Operator’s own planning outlook shows that green energy is competitive with new nuclear power or natural gas. Some contracts recently signed for wind power are cheaper that what we pay for nuclear power.”
The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) wondered why the government is even consulting on the next Long-Term Energy Plan when it has now “cancelled” 1000 MW of renewables procurement and decided to run the Pickering nuclear station until 2024.
“These decisions by the Ontario government call into question the point of the government’s plans to consult the public on the electricity generation mix this fall,” said Jacqueline Wilson, counsel at CELA.
“We will continue to press this government and all jurisdictions to make decisions that lead us to a fully renewable, clean, healthy energy future. Ontarians deserve to be in the vanguard of the innovation economy, and that will be built on renewable energy,” added Theresa McClenaghan, executive director at CELA.
The Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) suggested that suspending the renewables procurement initiative could have lasting impacts on the province. It said it may not have enough generation to meet growing demand as the economy moves towards electrification, nuclear is taken offline, and the need to meet conservation targets.
Cancelling or delaying the procurement of renewable electricity could leave Ontario unprepared to effectively deal with these risks cost-effectively and without increasing electricity sector GHG emissions,” said CanSIA president and CEO John Gorman.
“Shocked and extremely disappointed” was the way the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) described its reaction to the Ontario’s government’s decision.
“This is a missed opportunity for the province as CanWEA believes that the Ontario Planning Outlook not only identifies the need for new clean energy supply in the coming years, but also understates the need for new electricity generation going forward given the important role electrification will play in meeting Ontario’s climate change commitments and transitioning to a low carbon economy,” said Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA.
“Not proceeding with this procurement also represents a missed opportunity to mitigate the risks and uncertainties associated with the costs and timing of the Pickering Generating Station operating licence extension, Ontario’s ambitious nuclear refurbishment plan, and the uncertainty of supply from outside of the province,” he added.